INSPIRED BY HEARING the last post being sounded at Ypres during a tour of Belgium last year, members of a local band of young musicians are to embark on a fundraising effort in support of Armed Forces charities.
Five members of Moray Concert Brass are to lay down their instruments for a short while as they take to the road on a cycle run between Elgin Academy and Fort George – visiting RAF Lossiemouth and Kinloss Barracks along the way.
The team – Glenn Munro, Louise Gray, Aileen Macphail, Elizabeth Patterson and Bill Murray , will set out from Elgin on August 1 and head along the coast via Lossiemouth, Duffus and Burghead to Kinloss. From there they will continue through Forres and Nairn.
Glen Munro is the conductor and leader of Moray Concert Brass. He said their aim was to raise as much as possible for the military charities Erskine and PoppyScotland, adding: “I was keen to rise to this challenge for a number of reasons – I remember my dad taking me to the original Erskine Hospital when I was young, and seeing all the soldiers in wheelchairs.
“That memory has always remained with me and after visiting Ypres I realised that I wanted to be able to give something back.
“I also became a grandfather last year and I want to keep fit so that I can be an active part of my grandson’s life – so signing up for a 55-mile bike ride has been a great way to get myself into regular exercise, something I will hopefully continue.”
Music teacher Aileen Macphail said that the trip to the Tyne Cot War Memorial in Belgium was a very sobering experience: “Seeing the cemetery, with the thousands of gravestones really made everyone, staff and band members alike, realise the scale of the sacrifice made by the soldiers, both during the First World War and today.
“We decided on the bus that day that we should do a charity event and by the time we were back at our hostel we had planned our route!”
Louise Gray agreed that her decision to do the bike ride was as a direct result of visiting Ypres and the surrounding area during the tour: “We were privileged to visit Belgium on the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One and it seemed like a perfect time for to participate in an event that supported charities who provide such vital assistance to individuals and their families who may have been involved in conflicts since.”
Fellow rider Elizabeth Patterson added: “We have had great support from the youngsters in the band who are helping us try and raise at least £500 for the two charities.
“If anyone felt they could sponsor us, we have created a Virgin Money Giving page, which can be found at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/MCyclingB – any amount however small would be fantastic as the money is going to two great charities.”
Erskine, was set up almost 100 ago when it became clear during the devastation of the First World War that there was insufficient hospital facilities for those wounded in battle.
Following the opening of its first Hospital in October 1916 one in five of the thousands of British veterans who were disabled in battle were treated at Erskine. Today Erskine continues to provide long-term medical care for Scotland’s service men and women both in the charities’ own facilities and through partnership in-care homes across Scotland.
For more information on Erskine and the great work they do you can visit their website at: www.erskine.org.uk.
PoppyScotland is also a leading charity supporting ex-servicemen and women and their families in Scotland. They are best known for running the Scottish Poppy Appeal, but work all year round to help veterans and their families receive the care and support they urgently need providing a variety of services and giving advice and financial assistance where it is most needed. More information on the charity can be found at: www.poppyscotland.org.uk.